Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

September 2, 2011

Adidas TERREX Coast To Coast 2011, Day 4

Continued from Coast to Coast, Day 3

Stage 14: Cycle through Vale of York

The final day started with a cold, early morning bike over to Osmotherley and down to Swainby.  The extra early start mean leaving shortly after 5 a.m. for some, but I had moved up a few places on the board (yay!) and headed out at 5:36.  It was still dark enough to need lights, but there was no traffic and again we had a tailwind.  My legs were feeling pretty tortured after 3 days of racing so I took it easy to get warmed up for the following run stage.  It sure felt like it was all uphill, though, and my pace was much slower than I had anticipated.  My goal for the day was to finish in under 30 hours total racing, which mean I would need under about 6 hours 30 minutes on the day. 

Stage 15: Run over Carlton Bank
The run stage finally arrived and there was a chilly wind blowing us up the North Yorkshire Moors.  The bogs of the Dales were long gone, replaced with level paving stones and an obvious path along the Cleveland Way over Carlton Bank.  I had come this way as part of the Osmotherley Phoenix in 2010, so I recognized a good bit of the route and could worry a bit less about my direction finding.  I still managed to go off trail while scrambling up some rocks, but quite minimal and I wanted to see some heather up close, really!  Back on the flagstones, they led all the way down to the road where a steep descent brought us to the next transition area. 

Yup, I always run with my eyes closed...can see the beautiful blooming heather better that way...

Stage 16: MTB across North Yorkshire Moors
With the last run done, it was just our cycle legs which would carry us the rest of the way to Robin Hood's Bay.  Going back up the steep road to the Cleveland Way meant a hike-a-bike for me, but as I was walking up faster than the guy riding in front of me I figured I was the smart one.  Back on the trail, it really was more hike-a-bike with some choosing to carry the bikes up the steep steps.   It wasn't as tough as I had feared, though, and I pulled away from the teams behind me once reaching the path along the moors.  It was level fast riding along the trail and the disused railway, and I made good progress towards my time goals here. 

A few muddy shortcuts and some tarmac sections bridged me over to the long descent to Glaisdale.  By this time I was tired and sore, but also wishing somehow that there was another day of racing as I was having so much fun!  The path was rocky and muddy but also fast, and with my 29er wheels I kept ahead of the teams behind me, managing to get through both MTB stages without falling off!  Progress! 

Stage 17: Cycle along Esk Valley

The camera crew records my finish!
 With clean road tyres I soon found myself pushing my bike up the last steep hill on the final stage.  I tried to do some math in my head (hard to do when exercising, really) and concluded that there was plenty of time to reach the finish for under 30 hours, but pride kept me racing hard.  Unfortunately my tired legs didn't have much left in them, and I strugged to keep up with teams around me riding with MTB tyres.  Finally we were on the graveled old railway which leads up and over the moor, and the ocean came into sight!   My shoes were waiting for me in the transition area, and I tore out of there down the hill toward the finish.   My muscles were all but giving up on me by that point but I knew in two minutes I could finally finish.  I guess my brain was shutting down as well because I forgot to dib in at the finish line and had to go back and get it!  At any rate it was a relief to wear the finisher's medal and clap for the teams starting to stream in.

Trying to breath after 4 days of hard racing...
 I was happy to have held off the leaders for the day as within 5 minutes it seemed most of the front-runners were sprinting in.  The finish area started heaving with people and I found a spot on the grass to watch all the action.  After everyone finished, we had the awards ceremony, and amazingly enough I held in there to finish third in the women's category.  Although there was no photo finish needed, as I was over 4 hours behind Sally in 2nd and 6 hours ahead of Ruth in 4th. 

From left to right:  Sally Ozanne (2nd), Fiona McBryde (1st), Dawn Westrum (3rd)
Stage 4 results are here      Overall results are here  

After I got home, I did some race analysis, and figured out that of 4-5 hours I lost to the women ahead of me, one full hour of it was in transition!  Ouch!!  I thought I had been getting through tranisition pretty fast, and Rob was starting to get the hang of it by the last couple of days.  But I'll have to get faster at those for sure.

My Excel Spreadsheet of all the results + transition times is here

Also lost quite a bit of time on the kayak as I was using a plastic sea kayak and the fast competitors all had surf skis.  Probably lost another hour or two there.  Also lost quite a bit of time on the run sections but no excuses, I guess they are just faster than me as I came into the race as fit as I had every been.   Was psyched that I kept up with them on the biking sections for the most part. 

Most happy that I never got lost, didn't have a flat, didn't get injured, and Rob never got lost either!   Never ever expected to win, was really just hoping to finish, so the 3rd place was just extra credit.  This was a my longest race ever, but I finished feeling pretty strong and confident, so definitely already looking ahead to to the 2 day non-stop Swift and 4-5 day Sting in Sterling next year! 

But most of all, really just enjoyed every minute of my journey across England!
Rob and I both happy to reach the finish line!

The Team winners

From Sea to Sea on the Coast to Coast....


  1. Flippin' brilliant result, Dawn. Your multi-disciplinary endurance escapades are making me jealous. Trouble is I don't like water! Sounds strange from someone who lives in such a wet climate?

  2. Nick, you notice that I've switched from swimming to kayaking, so I can stay (mostly) on top of the water rather than in it! Not a big fan of cold water myself... But whatever I'm doing, I love seeing the beautiful scenery of the country, it keeps me going!